Response to CPS publication – New guidelines on prosecuting cases involving social media communications


APCC Chair Vera Baird said:

“During hate crime awareness week Police and Crime Commissioners are sending out a clear and unambiguous message that police will take action to taken to tackle online abuse.”

“The use of social media has become an increasingly important means of communication but there is a worrying and unacceptable rise in online abuse and harassment. A Childnet report earlier this year found that one in four teenagers suffered abuse online from trolling because of their gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, disability or transgender identity. We cannot have our young people being victimised in this way and our forces are all committed to tackling this and people affected should feel confident in speaking to the police.  Committing a crime such as a threat or blackmail online is no different from a crime being committed on the street or in the home. If it is a crime it will be dealt with and victims can expect sympathetic support.

“This new Crown Prosecution Service social media guidance includes new sections on Violence against Women and Girls (VaWG), Hate Crime and vulnerable victims and sets out that practices such inciting people to harass and abuse others online can be prosecuted. This is a good declaration that the CPS also intend that this offending should be taken through the courts

“I welcome the intention behind the changes and I hope that, as a result, police will be more able to identify the right online crimes to charge and to prosecute where appropriate. The CPS has made clear today that they will prosecute in the same way as if these actions were taken offline.

“Police and Crime Commissioners have an important role in ensuring that police forces up and down the country are alive to and properly resourcing their response to this problem.”


Notes to Editors:

1)      CPS Guidelines on prosecuting cases involving communications sent via social media are available here.

2)      Contact Jamie Hurst for more information Jamie.hurst@apccs.police.uk07710 716659


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